IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Pakistan chase rare series win


afridiMatch facts
Friday, November 6
Start time 15:00 (11:00 GMT)

Big Picture

The ICC World Twenty20 apart, Pakistan have not been good at winning series or tournaments in recent years. They haven’t won a Test series in three years and an ODI series for a year. Their win at the Sheikh Zayed stadium on Tuesday has, however, given them an ideal opportunity to change that statistic on Friday.

They are in good shape to do it as well; most of their bowlers looked sharp and took wickets, the fielding wasn’t a mess either, the lower middle order was in the runs and Shahid Afridi is in irrepressible mood. The only real issue was Salman Butt’s less than convincing return, though in fairness, Pakistan’s lack of opening strength has been an issue for so long, it has become a non-issue. Younis Khan’s duck will be a graver concern, as it represents a longer pattern of ODI indifference this year. If they win the series another low score might not hurt so much, but it will be gnawing away at him.

Though they were thumped, New Zealand have little reason to be disheartened. They know they were in the game for quite some time only really giving it away in the last 15 overs of their bowling. Kyle Mills and James Franklin are a handy pair to welcome back from injury; if Shane Bond’s schizophrenic outing - his second spell was as poor as the first was magnificent - was just a one-off, then there exists a more than workable pace attack.

Of greater concern looked the batting; at times some of their batsmen looked genuinely out of their depth against Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal. In fairness that may also have been exacerbated by playing in unfamiliar conditions - Australia earlier this year also took time to adjust, but they eventually did so in the end. At least they have got the one obligatory Pakistan-induced collapse - the last six wickets fell for 30 - out of the way.

Form guide (most recent first)
New Zealand LLWWW
Pakistan WWLLW

Watch put for

The likely return of the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler. If the surface is similar to the one on which the first game was played, Kyle Mills will enjoy it a fair bit. He is at his best when there is a little spice in the conditions, with the new ball, as he showed in his last ODI outing during the Champions Trophy final. Against a nervy top-order, it could be fun viewing.

If you can take your eyes off Afridi, there are a host of men: Kamran Akmal, his younger brother, Aamer, Ajmal, Gul. But the more discerning Pakistani will keep an eye on Khalid Latif. His maiden ODI fifty on Tuesday was slow, mostly unremarkable, but vital and it presented an interesting change of type: he is not, by nature, a sluggish player at all as one glance at his domestic feats will reveal. But he has long been talked about as a potential opener for Pakistan and so his progress, more than the others, will be keenly followed.


Mills and James Franklin are both in with a chance of playing and the former, if fit, is likely to walk straight back in. Jacob Oram didn’t look too flash in the first ODI, with bat or ball, so Franklin’s left-handed all-roundedness is a real option.

New Zealand (probable): Aaron Redmond, Brendon McCullum (wk), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Daniel Vettori (capt), Jacob Oram/James Franklin, Neil McCullum, Shane Bond, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee

Why change an XI that can do what it did in the first ODI? People will crib about Butt, but now that he is back, persisting with him for one more game makes sense.

Pakistan (probable): Salman Butt, Khalid Latif, Younis Khan (capt), Mohammad Yousuf, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamer, Saeed Ajmal

Pitch and conditions

The pitch for the first ODI was actually an ideal surface for the format. There was plenty of help for bowlers early on, movement for the faster ones and turn for spinners, but if they didn’t get it right - as New Zealand’s bowlers found in the second half of their innings - there were plenty of runs on offer. If the second match is played on a similar surface, there will be some more cracking cricket.

Stats and trivia

* In 11 ODIs in the UAE against Pakistan, New Zealand have yet to register a single win
* Afridi’s Man-of-the-Match award in the first ODI was his third in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in only 13 games Pakistan have played at the venues
* In his last 31 ODIs Daniel Vettori has conceded over six runs an over only twice and five runs just seven times

“It is important that we keep the winning momentum, win the second after which we have a chance of a clean sweep.”
Younis Khan is targetting an unassailable lead over New Zealand.

“Afridi has got to another level as a bowler and the partnership he is forming with Ajmal is real key to Pakistan’s success. We played Ajmal in the Champions Trophy and know we can handle him.”
Daniel Vettori is all praise for Pakistan’s spin duo.

Source:Cricket News

Image Source:Cricinfo

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